Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

No leftovers for me, thanks anyhow. I don’t “do” leftovers. After strategizing the shopping/cooking/cleaning process, then executing it all, I am done, done, done. But it was good. For once everything came out pretty much exactly the way I wanted it to. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten as much of my own cooking as I did last night.

How was your Thursday? Did you spend at least part of it with people you love and/or are tied to either by nature or by nurture? Did you eat way too much?

That’s the tradition, of course, gustatory excess. Had to break out the incongruously old Webster’s New Collegiate for that one, to be sure I had the right word. I did. Phew.

It’s about taste. Taste, as in one of the five, not as in “Does this shirt go with these pants?” We had a nicely roasted formerly happy but now dead free range organic turkey – ha ha, vegetarian humor. I’ll cook the carcass but I’ll mock the poor thing, too -- with lemony couscous dressing and carrot/potato gratin and Brussels sprouts with avocado, pecans and balsamic and maple cranberry sauce, and what, now I’ve forgotten it all, oh and maple-roasted sweet potatoes and crusty bread with sweet butter. Dessert was an apple cake with hot salted caramel sauce and Robert’s home made vanilla ice cream. I ended up not making the pumpkin soup, but Christmas is coming and the cooking starts all over again. Santa can have soup.

Yep, gustatory was the right word. I hope your Thanksgiving was gustatory bliss.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Curses, Foiled Again!

“Cussing” means “cursing”. We forget that. At least, I forget that. And it matters to me, at least kinda sorta.

I was in the far right lane of a major street, going about 35, when a car rolled past a stop sign halfway into my lane right in front of me. My reflexes were fast enough, and the car on the other side of me was slow enough, to avoid collision. I flipped off the offending driver. I don’t do that. Normally I just shout. Her action was so deliberate, and so uncaring of the consequences, that I wanted her to know how angry I was. Then I saw the motorcycle cop two cars back turn on its lights.

Now, you all know fucking well that I have no problem with profanity. Even Melva is used to my cussing though she’s of the “profanity indicates a lack of vocabulary” school of thought. I disagree. Colloquial profanity is used for emphasis. But let’s not get semantic. I’m not talking about profanity, I’m talking about cursing. When I flipped off that driver I wasn’t swearing at her, I was de facto cursing her. And that’s bad karma, no matter how justifiable the circumstances.

As it turns out, the motorcycle officer made a u-turn and ticketed somebody on the other side of the street. Within a block, there was another motorcycle officer giving someone a ticket. And for the last mile of my drive, there was a police car directly behind me.

I’m telling you, bad karma is bad karma. I did a good deed immediately thereafter to cancel it out.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Eyeballs & Strikes

Have you ever seen someone get injections in their eyeball? I mean for real, not in a movie or a comic book or anything fabricated like that. I mean, have you ever stood a few feet away from two people, one of whom was sticking needles in the other one’s eye? I didn’t think so. I have.

It was last Thursday. I would have told you about it sooner, but I was working on finishing my NaNoWriMo, which I just did. Now we can get gross.

These are my personal movie rules: I won’t see anything icky, scary or sad. (Or anything with an animal in it, but that’s a separate category.) My squeamishness is legend. I don’t even like to watch someone put drops in their eyes. Yet when I took Melva to the retina specialist – she’s fine now, thanks – I stayed in the room while he gave her the injections, three of them.

He made the obvious “Clockwork Orange” reference when he propped open her eyelids. You would think I’d cringe from the reference at least, if not from the reality. I didn’t. I never saw the movie, but I read the book ages ago. I cringed when I read the book. Hell, I cringed when I read the Mad magazine satire of the movie, which tells you how long ago it was.

There, in that room with all the equipment, I didn’t even wince. I take no credit for that.

As is typical for her, Melva was a hero. She was calm and so I was calm. Maybe it was vice versa, that doesn’t matter. We were, and it’s done, and now I can strike “watch someone have needles stuck in their eyeball” off of my non-existent bucket list.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

My Word!

If I say I’m going to do something, I generally do. Oh sure, I weasel as much as the next guy. I say “I’ll try to” whenever I can get away with it, but that’s because if I say “I will” then I really will give it a shot.

As you can imagine, this gets me into a lot of trouble. By “a lot” I mean, a LOT. I was bitten in the butt twice today by my self-imposed code of honor. The first was a repentant promise I extracted from a friend weeks ago which finally came to fruition this afternoon – but not to my benefit. Sucks, but there it is. The second bite came from NaNoWriMo.

Remember NaNoWriMo? Scroll down a few posts. You’ll find it. National Novel Writing Month. When I said I’d do it, it seemed like everyone I know had already jumped on the bandwagon and I was the last to board. I swallowed the dregs of the Kool Aid™ with all the sugar chunks at the bottom. (Dear trivia freaks: Yes, I know it was really Flavor Aid™, this is colloquial usage.) Throughout previous Novembers, all I ever heard was NaNoWriMo this and NaNoWriMo that. This year, it’s only crickets, tumbleweeds and dusty keyboards. I’m the only one left. Ironically, I’m the only one not writing a story.

Did you scroll? Never mind, I’ll repeat it. My NaNoWriMo isn’t a narrative. It’s a stream of consciousness. 1,667 words of whatever is in my head; rinse and repeat every day for a month. I’m writing this as part of it, which would be cheating unless you saw some of the utter drivel that’s been coming out of my fingers. Go on, I double-dog dare you to sit down and write 1,667 words just like that. Actually it’s not so difficult. It’s the third or fourth day that gets hard. The ones after that aren’t so fun. You start to get tired of your own kvetching, and I was tired of mine years ago.

If I was an infinite number of monkeys, instead of one tired middle-aged writer, then I’d have a snappier punch line, or the script for Hamlet, or just a lot of bananas. You have my word on that.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Pop Goes The Reason

Reason. Reasons. Reasoning. Reasonableness. They sound alike. There is a familial resemblance. But they’re not the same thing.

Reasons always mean why. You never have a reason how, only a reason why. Not a reason if, or a reason of. It’s only why.

Robert pointed out that a sum is the result of reasoning. Sure, I argued, that’s reason as a verb. I was talking about the noun, i.e. “a reason” not “to reason”. He laughed, and said “I have my reasons.” Thus proving my point, I argued reasonably.

If one has one’s reasons, then those reasons explain why something is or isn’t done, or should be done or might not be done. Why? Because of (the reason.)

Causality matters. We do things for a reason. No matter how spontaneous you think you are, there is always a catalyst and that catalyst is the reason for your impulse.

Like now, I have an impulse to reference Kant’s “Critique of Pure Reason” but I’m not going to. That would be entirely unreasonable.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Tsk, Tsk

“Nice day,” I said in all innocence and with my best manners.

“A very nice day,” He corrected me with reproving emphasis on “very”.

To be fair, it was. This happened on Sunday. The bitterly cold and wet morning had cleared into a gorgeous afternoon. If the weather wasn’t a perfect 72 degrees then it was so close that the difference was statistically negligible. The sky was a rare particulate-free blue and if you need further proof, I had been walking the little dog for no reason other than I that had the time and I thought he would like it. A very nice day, indeed. So stipulated. But that’s completely beside my point.

Some people can layer criticism into the most innocuous comment. Granted, this is a skill usually limited to one’s older relatives, but other folks can do it too.

One of Melva’s favorite sayings is, “It’s not what you do, it’s how you do it.” In this case, small talk with a stranger who is obviously a neighbor should be genial and vapid. This particular conversation continued in the same pattern. I don’t remember the rest. You don’t want to read it anyhow. But everything I said was met with polite negativity. That’s what I took away from the contact, that this was a polite and negative man.

It was a lesson to me, so I pass it freely on to you. Don’t think about what you meant, pay attention to how it was received. If whatever you said wasn’t received the way you intended it to be then correct yourself quickly so that you don’t leave a bad impression.

And, just in case, I’ll take the little dog elsewhere tonight.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Perchance To Dream

It starts in childhood. Staying up past your bedtime was a treat, or a reward for good behavior. In any case, not sleeping was good. While it doesn’t necessarily follow that sleep was bad, the opposite definitely rang true.

Big little girls and boys don’t need to nap. Bigger ones can stay up til midnight. Bigger still and they can stay out til midnight. Get them to college age and they stay up all night for a variety of reasons. A really good party? Up all night. Big test tomorrow? Counter-intuitively, up all night. Forgot to start your term paper? Up all night.

Bored, with everything closing at 1 a.m.? Up all night driving from San Diego to Los Angeles in time for the crullers to come out of the oven at Winchell’s. Or just up all night waiting for the crullers at V-Gs in Encinitas, which came out at 4:30 a.m. What can I say? I really liked crullers. I still do. And I didn’t get much sleep. I was that age.

But somewhere there’s a shift. I shouldn’t say “somewhere” because I know where it is. When the choice isn’t yours anymore, staying awake isn’t so good. Too many responsibilities? Not enough sleep. Too much stress? Not enough sleep. You’re an adult? You’re probably not getting enough sleep.

For the fourth or fifth time this week, I’m going to attempt to get a full eight hours. The goal is eyes closed by midnight. This time I really mean it. We’ll see what happens.

Good night.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Boo, Humbug!

Remember when Halloween was more fun than annoying? Do ya? Huh? I don’t.

Sure, in my ersatz-Goth days, Halloween mattered. Most years I’d throw an elaborate costume party for up to 100 people. I’d cook for days. It was a Big Deal. I still remember the occasional disaster guest. You know, the kind who live on in legend and infamy. Remind me sometime to tell you about “Friar Fuck” (I didn’t make that up.) He galvanized the crowd into total alliance against him and made for a great party. That was such a long time ago, in another city.

Our first Halloween in Los Angeles was back in 2001. We spent it on Hollywood Blvd. You should go. Everyone should experience Halloween on Hollywood Blvd… once. It’s a hoot, but it’s on my top ten Been There, Done That list. Fun as it was, we’ve never been back. Halloween became staid and stayed that way until a few years ago, when the people next door moved in.

The Loud Neighbors had a louder than usual Halloween party this past Saturday. There was a rather feeble and pathetic DJ, who made up in volume what he lacked in expertise. It was noisy even by their ballistic standards. Neighborhood gossip says the police took a man away. I had seen a policeman, but I thought it was a costume. I did see the fire truck arrive at 1:30 a.m. with lights flashing and no siren, but they didn’t do anything.

So we went out and saw friends at dinner (Hi Enzo! Hi Nate!) then spent the rest of Halloween hiding in an otherwise dark house, waiting to be left alone for another year. Or at least until my Loud Neighbors throw their New Year’s Eve party. New Year’s Eve falls on Saturday. Shudder. At least they won’t be in costume.